Magazine article Anglican Journal

Halifax Church to Commemorate 1917 Explosion

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Halifax Church to Commemorate 1917 Explosion

Article excerpt

Nearly a hundred years ago, an explosion destroyed much of Halifax's north end, including St. Marks Anglican Church. This November and December, the church, since rebuilt, will be commemorating the catastrophe with a memorial service and concert.

On the morning of December 6, 1917, as the First World War was raging in Europe, two ships collided in Halifax Harbour. One was laden with high explosives for the war, and the result of their collision was the most powerful human-made blast the world had ever witnessed up to that time.

About 2,000 people died and an estimated 9,000 were injured after the blast and subsequent tsunami.

The explosion also completely destroyed four north-end churches, including St. Mark's, says its current rector, the Rev. John K. Morrell. Some 200 St. Mark's parishioners were among the dead.

The explosion has left its mark on the city, both physically and in the memories of its citizens, Morrell says. The current church treasurer's mother was only a few months old and contracted pneumonia in the explosion's aftermath and wasn't expected to survive. Her family still has the swaddling blanket that helped keep her warm throughout her sickness, he says. …

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